Warmest Welcome My Friend!
It is with joy and thanksgiving that I am sharing words of
encouragement and inspiration
with you today!
Our scripture focus is Psalm 100: 3-4 —
“Acknowledge that the Lord is God.
He made us, and we are His—His people, the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.”
I thank the Lord daily that He is God and that we are His.
As we move toward Advent and then the Lenten season –
we would greatly benefit from remembering the time our
Lord Jesus spent here on earth. His every word and deed focused on crucial issues of life and ministry which he wanted his disciples to learn. Lessons that would enable them to be RESPONSIBLE and make decisions to fulfill both their own lives and God’s purpose for them. We can believe those lessons are still there for us to live out our lives today.
On our journey – we must decide to take RESPONSIBILITY for our lives and know that God is in ALL of life, not just in “religious” things, and that everything we do is important in our relationship with him.
My friend, how many times have you heard someone say:
“It’s God’s will, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
“I’m only human. What do you expect of me?”
“That’s just the way I am.”
“I can’t help it. That’s the way I was brought up.”
Well, these statements are indicative of a few of the games people play in trying to avoid responsibility for their lives. I read that one of the reasons for astrology’s popularity in our culture is its easy escape from responsibility. After all, if your horoscope says that today is a bad day for you, you can blame the stars if things go wrong.
Some Christians who never read their horoscope do the same thing by using “God’s will” as an escape hatch for their lack of COURAGE to decide and act.
Some of us find ourselves in a strange situation. Some of us yearn for the freedom to be our own person but fear the very freedom we yearn for. When we are children, our parents provided protection and security–which is right and proper but the family relationship can sometimes be smothering if it does not allow room for growth and maturity.
This is not God’s plan for any of us. He has given us gifts, he has given us potential, he has given us the opportunity to choose and to be responsible to him for our choices. In every area of life– in how we relate to Him–in what we do and say–in how we relate to other people–in how we spend our time and money–in how we do our work–in all these areas lie endless opportunities for responsible decision-making.
My brothers and sisters – not to choose is to narrow the possibilities that are open to us.
Most people fail not because they are bad, not because they don’t have resources, not because the circumstances of life hem them in.
They fail because they do not live decisively.
They don’t answer the questions life is always asking us: where are you going? what are you doing? where is your brother? what is the meaning of this? and many other similar questions.
Jesus was very much aware of the difficulty many of us have in living decisively. That’s why, on His journey to Jerusalem, he impressed on his disciples the importance of taking responsibility for their lives, for the Good News, and for God’s world. Jesus need if he didn’t teach them this then how could they possibly accomplish the tasks which lay ahead of them?
Wisely, some think, Jesus did not give his disciples blueprints and rules to follow. Instead, he gave them principles which encouraged them to think, feel, and act out of who they were in their RELATIONSHIP to him. These principles are said to be:
1. God has given you a life to manage. (what will you do with it?)
2. You are a manager, not an owner (see Luke 20:9-16 —God is sovereign and the owner of ALL not us)
3. The necessity of risk. (God has given us gifts – we must risk putting them into action or risk losing them—see Luke 19:26
4. Correcting your relationships with others
(we are responsible for the state of our relationships with other people. It is not enough to say “I’ll just turn this troublesome relationship over to the Lord in prayer” and let him correct it. We are to work actively at maintaining healthy and growing relationships with our brothers and sisters.)
5. You must stay alert in order to be responsible.
(If we accept that we are managers in God’s world and not owners, then in that role we must be alert to the presence of the Spirit, both inside and outside of ourselves. Such an alertness gives added dimension to life, and saves us from becoming dull with routine and boredom. When we are spiritually alive, we are less tempted to become weary and attracted by other interests that dull our sensitivity and get us off the track of God’s plan for our lives.
Friend, be alert to the variety of ways God comes to us–ways that we often don’t anticipate. Just as the Jews missed the Messiah, It is easy for us to miss God when he comes through faces and voices and opportunities we don’t expect.
Last, on his journey to Jerusalem, Jesus not only talked about responsibility, but he lived a model that the disciples could follow. He lived decisively, never forgetting that his Father had given him a life to manage, never forgetting who he was, never afraid to risk, always sensitive to God’s presence and leading.
Let us end with a prayer —
Lord, please help us to recognize we have possibilities and realize you did not create us to be a “nothing”. And also, help us please to accept responsibility to live our lives decisively and own the choices that we make knowing that “I(We) can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens us – and with God (you Lord) all things are possible.”
Thank You Lord.